Manchester United GulfGulf Oil, famous for its sponsorship of Le Mans Porsches, is partnering with a new and slightly unexpected team – Manchester United FC. The international oil group has signed a long-term deal to become Man Utd’s official global lubricant and fuel retail partner.

What does it mean for football fans? They’ll begin seeing the Gulf orange disc on Manchester United’s Old Trafford digital perimeter boards during Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup matches: it’ll be a little like being at Le Mans.

Gulf Oil will also gain rights to use the Manchester united club crest and player images, for slightly awkward photoshoots such as this one.

Manchester United Gulf

Why is Gulf doing it? Because while it’s an iconic brand in motorsport circles, said international vice president Frank Rutten, “this is a truly exciting opportunity for Gulf to expand beyond our motorsport sponsorships and to stand on the global stage.”

Manchester United Group MD Richard Arnold said: “Gulf Oil International already has significant experience in sport and we are looking forward to working with them to expand that into football.

“Through this partnership we will further our commitment to reach our fans around the world, especially in Asia.”

But motorsport fans should not worry. Gulf is not pulling out of racing – indeed, vice president of brand and marketing Vicki Kipling said that, on the contrary, the brand is expanding what it does in motorsport.

The brand is enhancing its involvement with Team Milwaukee BMW in World superbikes, will be back at Le Mans with the Porsche Gulf Racing Team and is aiming to scoop a tenth Top Fuel drag title with the world’s most powerful motorbike.